WASHINGTON, D.C. | April 9, 2013
For many Americans, balancing the demands of family and the workplace can be difficult. State and local government employees have long been able to choose paid time off as compensation for working overtime hours, allowing these public-sector employees greater flexibility to meet family obligations. However, the federal government prohibits private-sector workers from enjoying this same benefit. An outdated federal law has become an impediment to employers who want to help employees manage work and family responsibilities.
To remove this obstacle in federal law, Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) introduced the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013. The legislation would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to allow employers to offer private-sector employees the choice of paid time off in lieu of cash wages for overtime hours worked. It is pro-family, pro-worker legislation that gives workers the flexibility to spend time with family, attend teacher conferences, care for aging parents, stay home with a newborn, or attend to other family needs that may arise.
H.R. 1406 - THE WORKING FAMILIES FLEXIBILITY ACT OF 2013:
- Allows employers to offer employees a choice between cash wages and comp time for overtime hours worked. Employees who want to receive cash wages would continue to do so. No employee can be forced to take comp time instead of receiving overtime pay.
- Protects employees by requiring the employer and the employee to complete a written agreement to use comp time, entered into knowingly and voluntarily by the employee. Where the employee is represented by a union, the agreement to take comp time must be part of the collective bargaining agreement negotiated between the union and the employer.
- Retains all existing employee protections in current law, including the 40 hour work week and how overtime compensation is accrued. The bill adds additional safeguards for workers to ensure the choice and use of comp time are truly voluntary.
- Allows employees to accrue up to 160 hours of comp time each year. An employer would be required to pay cash wages for any unused time at the end of the year. Workers are free to ‘cash out’ their accrued comp time whenever they choose to do so.
The Working Families Flexibility Act is commonsense legislation that will help American workers better balance the needs of family and the workplace.
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